San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency has identified an active tuberculosis case in a Metropolitan Transit System rider, the agency recently announced.
An MTS passenger was recently diagnosed with infectious pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) used the following routes between Feb. 16 and Aug. 16:
- Trolley Blue Line from San Ysidro to 12th and Imperial station Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.
- Trolley Orange Line from 12th and Imperial to Lemon Grove Monday through Friday from 6:30 to 7 a.m.
- Trolley Orange Line from Lemon Grove to 12th and Imperial Monday through Friday roughly between 4:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.
- Trolley Blue Line from 12th and Imperial to San Ysidro Monday through Friday roughly between 5:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
The county HHSA is working with MTS to notify individuals possibly exposed or at risk of infection. Potentially affected passengers are advised to consult with their medical provider or arrange testing by contacting Public Health.
According to County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H, symptoms of active TB include persistent cough, fever, night sweats, and unexplained weight loss.
“Most people who become infected after exposure to tuberculosis do not get sick right away. Some who become infected with tuberculosis will become ill at some point in the future, sometimes even years later. Blood tests and skin tests are effective to determine whether someone has been infected.”
The region has seen a decrease in annual TB cases since the early 1990s, and county health officials say those numbers have stabilized in recent years. There were 264 cases reported in 2019, 192 cases in 2020, and 201 cases of tuberculosis disease reported in 2021. Through the end of August, 97 cases have been reported to date in 2022.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention TB bacteria spread through the air from one person to another. When a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks or sings, TB bacteria can get into the air. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
TB is not spread by shaking someone’s hand, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes, or kissing.
“When a person breathes in TB bacteria, the bacteria can settle in the lungs and begin to grow. From there, they can move through the blood to other parts of the body, such as the kidney, spine, and brain,” reads the CDC website.
Visit https://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/basics/howtbspreads.htm to learn more about TB. Individuals who would like more information on this potential exposure are asked to call the County TB Control Program at (619) 692-8621.